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The MBA degree: Does it do the job?

Robyn Wossum Hulsart, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Controversy exists within the business community concerning whether a business school education is congruent with the needs of business. This quantitative study answered the question—do business professionals in the Columbus, Ohio area perceive graduate schools of business as adequately preparing employees in the skills considered important to the business organization? A three-section Likert-scale survey instrument was mailed to a simple random sample (N = 500) of Business Managers and/or Vice Presidents of Human Resources considered most likely to hire MBA graduates. Occupational categories sampled included: accounting, banking, consulting, finance, insurance, investment, and management. The variables were: type of skill (hard skills, soft skills) and perception (preparation, essential). Because each subject in the study was exposed to all levels of two qualitative (hard skills, soft skills) variables, and measured on a quantitative variable (preparation, essential) during each exposure, the two-way within-subjects analysis of variance was utilized to test for significant differences among groups. Significant differences were detected between the perceived importance of hard skills and soft skills and the perceived adequacy of preparation in those skills. Thus, it was concluded that business perceived soft skills to be more important to the business organization than hard skills and business managers rated MBA programs as more adequately preparing students in the hard skills than the soft skills.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Business education|Management

Recommended Citation

Hulsart, Robyn Wossum, "The MBA degree: Does it do the job?" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI3055276.